Published: Wed, December 14, 2016
USA | By Yvette Dunn

Charleston church shooting suspect's trial set to begin

Roof was granted the right to represent himself during the questioning of potential jurors, but US District Judge Richard Gergel granted Roof's motion on Monday to have attorneys assist him during the guilt phase of his trial.

Bruck asked jurors to "go deeper than the surface of this bad crime".

The guilt phase of the trial is not expected to last more than six days.

Before the shooting, Roof had written a "manifesto" of his racist beliefs and posed for photos with the USA flag burning in one hand and the Confederate flag in his other.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Michael Stansbury said he pushed Roof to confess so quickly because he sensed he wanted to talk.

Bruck tried to hint at reasons why Roof shouldn't be put to death, but prosecutors loudly objected, saying that was for the penalty phase.

Susie Jackson, 87 and the oldest victim, was "a proud matriarch", said Mr Richardson.

After Roof was arrested, Richardson said he "confessed fully" to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who interviewed him, telling them: "I went to the church that night". Then she saw the gun. He explained that he wanted to leave at least one person alive to tell what happened and complained that his victims "complicated things" when they hid under tables.

Numerous pictures showed several victims lying on the floor under round tables. Instead, "he found a deserted parking lot, got into his vehicle, and slipped away into the night".

In his manifesto "The Last Rhodesian", Richardson said Roof wrote about his need to "do something" to send a message to exact "racist retribution" for the white race, and wanted to create a "catalyst for hate". The logo included his initials, a swastika, and an 88 - a number used by white supremacists that stands for "Heil Hitler". One further magazine was found in Roof's auto after he was apprehended by law enforcement.

"They probably won't agree with me - you know what I'm saying?"

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Roof was arrested a day after the murders in Shelby, North Carolina, a town about 250 miles north of Charleston.

"And he told our son, 'I have to do this because ya'll raping our women and taking over the world, '" Sanders said.

Earlier the judge rejected a defense motion for a mistrial based on a survivor's testimony that Roof was evil and belonged in "the pit of hell".

She said the Bible study group had welcomed him, and "he just sat there the whole time, evil, evil, evil as can be".

He said he had driven by the church before the shooting to inquire about worship services. "That's indicative of someone moving as they are shooting", she said. But by that time, Pinckney had already been shot.

Sanders, who told the court on Wednesday that she had watched her son die during the shooting, said that Roof was "evil, evil, evil as can be" as he refused to look at her throughout her evidence. She could feel warm blood "flowing" from both sides.

"I went to that church in Charleston and, uh, I did it", he said. Clementa Pinckney offered Roof a seat beside him, Sanders said.

Roof studied the church's long history in the black community, found out what time a Bible study class would be held, loaded his gun the night before, packed extra ammunition and drove more than an hour to the church, Assistant US Attorney Jay Richardson told the jury of nine whites and three African-Americans. Roof is seen leaving the church 52 minutes later, and a final clip taken about 25 minutes after that showed one of the victims carried out on a stretcher.

Also Thursday, jurors watched surveillance footage of Roof leaving a Charleston church with a gun in his hand.

The dead appeared in court today, staring out from video monitors at their families and friends, their congregation's pastor, a federal judge, a jury and Dylann Storm Roof, the man charged with firing more than 60 bullets into the nine of them in an effort to start a race war in America.

"He said he was going to kill himself".

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